Future Perfect

Vox

Future Perfect explores provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. We tackle big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty to create a more perfect future.In season 3, we explore how the meat we eat affects us all. In eight episodes, Vox's Dylan Matthews and Sigal Samuel examine how the way we eat is shaping animal lives, human lives, and the future of our planet. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network. 

Introducing Future Perfect
Trailer 1 min 56 sec

All Episodes

Most of our efforts to fight climate change, from electric cars to wind turbines, are about pumping fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But what if we could pull out the gases that are already there? Akshat Rathi, a reporter at Bloomberg with a doctorate in chemistry, knows more about this technology, called “direct air capture,” than just about anyone. He follows companies like Carbon Engineering and Climeworks that are trying to figure out how to take regular air and pull carbon dioxide out of it. If their plans work, they could mean a world with net negative emissions: less carbon in the sky than there is right now, and a cooler planet. But his reporting has also highlighted how elusive carbon capture can be, and how tricky it can be to make the tech work at an affordable price. Rathi and Vox’s Dylan Matthews discuss how direct air capture works, how it’s different from capturing carbon at a fossil fuel plant, and the struggles of one direct air capture company in particular.     Read more of Akshat’s work here: Inside America's Race to Scale Direct-Air Capture Technology - Bloomberg Crushed Rock Could Capture Billions of Tons of Carbon Dioxide - Bloomberg Britain Is Getting Ready to Scale Up Negative-Emissions Technology - Bloomberg Planting Trees Isn’t a Simple Climate Change Solution It Seems - Bloomberg The story behind the world’s first large direct air capture plant — Quartz (qz.com) The ultimate guide to negative-emissions technologies — Quartz (qz.com)   Host: Dylan Matthews (@DylanMatt), senior correspondent, Vox  Producer:  Sofi LaLonde (@sofilalonde)   More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.   Follow Us: Vox.com   Support Future Perfect by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Apr 28

42 min 7 sec

Climate scientist Kimberly Nicholas co-led a study that showed the single most effective thing an individual can do to decrease their carbon footprint is have fewer kids. Despite that finding, she still says that people who really want to have kids should go ahead with their plans. She explains how she squares that circle to Vox’s Sigal Samuel, and the two discuss how to think about the decision to have kids or not and how to make meaning in a warming world.     Read more of Sigal’s climate reporting: Having fewer kids will not save the planet Where to donate to improve climate policy It’s not just Big Oil. It’s Big Meat too.    More information about Dr. Kimberly Nicholas Find her new book here  Read more of her writing on her website The podcast she recommended called So Over Population   Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  Producer:  Sofi LaLonde (@sofilalonde)   More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.   Follow Us: Vox.com Support Future Perfect by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Apr 21

1 hr 3 min

In an ideal world, cutting carbon emissions would be enough to stop global warming. But after dithering for decades, the world needs a back-up plan. Kelly Wanser is the leader of a group called SilverLining that works to promote research into what it calls “solar climate intervention.” Also called “solar geoengineering,” this approach involves putting particles into clouds that reflect back the sun, directly cooling the earth. It’s a novel and potentially hazardous policy — but one that Wanser and other experts argue could hold a lot of promise as the world braces for catastrophic climate impacts. Wanser and Vox’s Dylan Matthews discuss how solar climate intervention works, how it could be implemented, and where it fits in with the goal of cutting emissions.   References:  Kelly Wanser is the executive director of SilverLining. You can find more information at Silverlining.ngo, including its 2019 report on climate intervention research. You can also hear more from Wanser in her 2019 TED Talk.   Host: Dylan Matthews (@DylanMatt), senior correspondent, Vox  Producer:  Sofi LaLonde (@sofilalonde) Special thanks to Efim Shaprio (@efimthedream)   More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.   Follow Us: Vox.com Support Future Perfect by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Apr 14

36 min 13 sec

Unexplainable is a new podcast from Vox about everything we don’t know. Each week, the team looks at the most fascinating unanswered questions in science and the mind-bending ways scientists are trying to answer them. New episodes drop every Wednesday.  This episode: Scientists still don't know how the sense of smell works. But they're looking at how powerful it is — dogs can actually sniff out cancer and many other diseases — and they're trying to figure out how to reverse-engineer it. In fact, one MIT scientist may have built a robot nose ... without completely understanding how his invention works. Learn more:  vox.com/unexplainable  Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/unexplainable/id1554578197 Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0PhoePNItwrXBnmAEZgYmt?si=Y3-2TFfDT8qHkfxMjrJL2g Sign up for our newsletter:  http://vox.com/unexplainable-newsletter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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Mar 16

28 min 24 sec

How can we convince people to change their relationship with meat? Melanie Joy has been grappling with this question for a long time. To answer it, she takes us back to other points in history when new technology helped make social change palatable. She digs into how the invention of the washing machine and other household appliances, for example, helped make feminism easier to imagine. Then, she looks to the future, at our latest meat technologies — plant-based meat and lab grown meat — and asks: Could they make it easier for us to move away from meat altogether?  Further listening and reading:  Joy’s books, Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation and Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.  Vox’s Ezra Klein interviewed Joy for an episode of The Ezra Klein Show in 2018. Hear that interview and read her book recommendations here. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Melanie Joy (@DrMelanieJoy) Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2020

23 min 32 sec

Beef cattle take a huge toll on the environment. In Brazil, a huge chunk of greenhouse gas emissions comes from ranching alone. And a California-sized chunk of the Amazon rainforest has been cut down to provide land for these cattle to graze on. But one man, living on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, has a potential solution. In a series of small pilot projects run in his own small town, he’s demonstrated that he can work with ranchers to make their land healthier and more sustainable, so they don’t have to slash and burn more forest. He’s also shown that, by making the land greener and the cows healthier, he can dramatically reduce emissions from ranching. Further listening and reading:  Christina Selby’s story about Vando Telles’s company can be found at Scientific American. Vox video has an in-depth explainer on deforestation in the Amazon and on the invasion of indigenous land in Brazil. Vox video also has an explainer on why eating beef speeds up climate change. Vox’s Umair Irfan traveled to Brazil last year to report on deforestation and climate change. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Christina Selby (@Christina Selby), freelance science reporter Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

25 min 38 sec

What if the next pandemic comes, not from wet markets overseas, but from our own factory farms? Martha Nelson, who studies viruses at the NIH, says we are playing Russian roulette with potentially dangerous influenza strains on our pig farms.  In this episode, we explain what makes these giant farms so likely to breed the next pandemic virus — and spread that virus into the world. And then, we look at solutions — from creating a virus-resistant pig, to developing a universal vaccine, to changing the systems we have for raising meat itself. Further listening and reading:  Sigal Samuel wrote an in-depth explainer on the pandemic risks of factory farms earlier this year. She’s also written about “wet markets.” The Vox video team also made an explainer video on the same subject.  For more on how viruses can spread in the pig population, Martha Nelson has an excellent paper “When Pigs Fly.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations wrote a 2013 report on the health risks of factory farming. Sonia Shah’s book Pandemic is a great primer on how pandemic strains arise. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox Martha Nelson (@swientist), epidemiologist, National Institutes of Health Juergen Richt (@juergenricht), professor of veterinary medicine, Kansas State University Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

25 min 55 sec

Right now, we can fight off a wide range of bacterial infections using antibiotics. But those antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective, and antibiotic use on factory farms is partially to blame.  In this episode, Lance Price and Cindy Liu, two public health researchers, explain that we give animals a steady dose of antibiotics in their feed, hoping to stave off disease in cramped, unsanitary conditions. But as a result, the bacteria in these animals develop resistance to antibiotics. But they have some suggestions for how we could make our antibiotics last. Further listening and reading:  Sigal Samuel has written in depth about the antibiotic risks posed by our factory farms. Liu and Price’s full study is worth a read, as is this Wired writeup of its findings. The episode mentions some of the work that Canada and Denmark have done to combat this resistance problem. It also digs into the use of the antibiotic Colistin in Chinese farms, and the subsequent spread of resistance. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox Martha Nelson (@swientist), epidemiologist, National Institutes of Health Juergen Richt (@juergenricht), professor of veterinary medicine, Kansas State University Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

24 min 55 sec

Workers in meatpacking plants already process our pigs and beef and chickens extremely fast, but recently, there’s been a push to make the meatpacking factory line move even faster.  Isaac Arnsdorf, a ProPublica reporter, takes us deep into his reporting on why that would be extremely dangerous for workers’ health. Then Jill Mauer, a federal meat inspector, explains why she’s worried that the changes in inspections necessary to make these faster line speeds possible could endanger us all. Further listening and reading:  We based the first half of this episode on reporting in Isaac Arnsdorf’s ProPublica piece on changing line speeds. For more on changing line speeds, there are great background pieces from the New York Times’s Julie Creswell and the Washington Post’s Kimberly Kindi. Jill’s full NBC interview, which we excerpted in the episode The Food Integrity Campaign within the Government Accountability Project pulled together this report with affidavits from federal inspectors in pilot plants. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Isaac Arnsdorf (@iarnsdorf), reporter, ProPublica Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2020

25 min 58 sec

In 1992, Craig Watts got into growing chickens for Perdue Farms because he was told he could turn a good profit. Instead, he found himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and unable to bargain for better working conditions because Perdue was the only game in town. Things seemed hopeless, until, in 2010, President Obama’s Department of Justice announced that they were going to look into the relationship between big poultry companies and their growers.  In this episode, reporter Leah Douglas tells us how farmers like Craig fought to change the balance of power in chicken growing a decade ago — and what has happened since. Further listening and reading:  In his book The Meat Racket, Christopher Leonard outlines the problems with contract poultry growing in much more depth, and goes into the history of the practice. Leah Douglas and Christopher Leonard also did a recent, in-depth investigation into problems with the US chicken industry’s treatment of farmers. You can watch the Department of Justice public workshops for yourself, or read transcripts, all available here. The National Chicken Council has compiled an FAQ that pushes back on claims that poultry growers have problems. We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox Leah Douglas (@leahjdouglas), reporter, Food and Environment Reporting Network Host: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

30 min 48 sec

In the US, we spend billions of dollars a year pampering our pets. We have laws to protect them from harm and to punish those who inflict it on them. And yet, we routinely abuse pigs and chickens on farms, cutting off their beaks and tails without anesthesia, and cramming them into cages.  In this episode, neuroscientist Lori Marino helps us understand how arbitrarily we draw the lines between animals as pets and animals as food, and how we might redraw those lines. Further listening and reading:  Lori Marino has done in-depth round-ups of all the research on chicken cognition and pig cognition. You might also enjoy this study, where students who worked with chickens were surprised by their intelligence In the piece, we used clips from this BBC Earth segment on how pig intelligence compares to toddler intelligence, and a Compassion in World Farming piece on pigs and video games Dylan Matthews has written in depth about unnecessarily painful pig castration. He’s also written about the practice of mass-culling male chicks.  For more on what labels like “wild caught,” “organic,” and “grass-fed” actually mean for the food you eat, Rachel Krantz wrote a comprehensive guide. We also have more information on what it means for eggs to be “cage-free.”  We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Lori Marino, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy Hosts: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

26 min 32 sec

North Carolina is home to around 9 million pigs. Many of those pigs live in big factory farms, and all of those pigs produce a lot of waste. On these factory farms, that waste is collected in big outdoor lagoons, and then sprayed out across fields as fertilizer. People living in communities nearby complain their daily lives are disrupted by the stench, and they fear that it’s affecting their health. On this episode, three North Carolinians team up with a lawyer to try and fight back against these lagoon and sprayfield systems.   Further listening and reading:  ProPublica’s Talia Buford has done in-depth reporting on the problems of overflowing pig waste lagoons in North Carolina, and you can see images of the aftermath of lagoon flooding from Hurricane Florence collected here. Pig waste from factory farms is not just a problem in North Carolina. You can read about issues in Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio.  A profile of the late epidemiologist Steve Wing, whose research into hog waste deeply informs this episode The Natural Resources Defense Council’s 2019 report on CAFOs Marianne Engelman Lado directs the Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School, which digs into a wide range of similar environmental justice issues We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Marianne Engleman Lado, Environmental Justice Clinic, Vermont Law School Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

29 min 9 sec

The meat we eat affects us all. It affects non-human animals, but also the farmers and factory workers who raise those animals and slaughter them. It affects the communities living around those farms and slaughterhouses. It affects our health care system and our ability to treat infections. And it affects our environment.  On this season of the Future Perfect podcast, we bring you stories about all those effects. And we’ll tell you about some potential changes, big and small, that could make the food we eat more sustainable and more humane.  If you haven’t already, subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox  Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

2 min 28 sec

Dylan Matthews sits down with housing policy experts and advocates Leonora Camner and Annie Fryman to discuss California’s housing crisis, climate catastrophe, and how more sustainable land use policy could help both. Featuring: Leonora Camner (@CamnerLeonora), executive director, Abundant Housing LA Annie Fryman (@anniefryman), housing policy lead for California State Senator Scott Wiener Host: Dylan Matthews, senior correspondent, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Sep 2020

58 min 47 sec

Co-host Sean Illing talks to Peniel Joseph, a University of Texas at Austin historian of Black Power movements Relevant resources:  The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel Joseph Featuring: Peniel Joseph, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), interviews writer, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Editor: Elbert Ventura Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

1 hr 14 min

Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Nikki Mirghafori, a Buddhist meditation teacher and AI researcher, about how to practice mindfulness of death  Relevant resources:  “Our calm is contagious”: How to use mindfulness in a pandemic, by Sigal Samuel It’s okay to be doing okay during the pandemic, by Sigal Samuel Are we morally obligated to meditate? by Sigal Samuel  Featuring: Nikki Mirghafori, a Buddhist meditation teacher and AI researcher  Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Editor: Elbert Ventura Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

58 min 11 sec

Co-host Sean Illing talks to Sister Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun and Catholic theologian, about the power of love and suffering in Christianity. Relevant resources:  The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, Ilia Delio Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness, Ilia Delio Featuring: Ilia Delio, a Franciscan Sister of Washington, DC, and Villanova University theology professor Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), senior interviews writer, Vox More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt Editor: Elbert Ventura Executive Producer: Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Aug 2020

1 hr 9 min

Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Cornel West, professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard, about Black liberation theology, existentialism, and other philosophies that can help us through these times. Relevant resources:  Cornel West and Tricia Rose on The Tight Rope, Apple Podcasts   Featuring: Cornel West (@CornelWest), professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Credits: Producer/Editor - Jackson Bierfeldt Editor - Elbert Ventura Executive Producer Liz Nelson About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

1 hr 1 min

Co-host Sean Illing talks to Robert Zaretsky, professor of French history at the University of Houston, about Albert Camus’s novel The Plague. Relevant resources:  The Plague, by Albert Camus Simone Weil: An Anthology, by Simone Weil Albert Camus: Elements of a Life, by Robert Zaretsky  Featuring: Robert Zaretsky, professor of history at the University of Houston Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), senior interviews writer, Vox  More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

1 hr 3 min

Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Omid Safi, professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, about the benefits of solitude and suffering, according to Sufis like Rumi. Relevant resources:  Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition, by Omid Safi  Featuring: Omid Safi (@ostadjaan), professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

58 min 48 sec

Co-host Sean Illing talks to David Wolpe, senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, about God and how to make sense of suffering in human life. Relevant resources:  Making Loss Matter : Creating Meaning in Difficult Times by Rabbi David Wolpe Religion without God: Alain de Botton on "atheism 2.0." by Sean Iling Featuring: David Wolpe (@RabbiWolpe), senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles Host: Sean Illing (@Seanilling), senior interviews writer More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down the big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts. Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

54 min 3 sec

Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Valerie Brown, a mindfulness teacher with a racial justice lens, about how to use Buddhist spiritual teachings not just to soothe us as individuals, but to tackle broader inequality, especially racial inequality. Relevant resources:  "A New Paradigm For Racial Justice and the Global Pandemic" by Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez, Order of Interbeing "It’s okay to be doing okay during the pandemic" by Sigal Samuel, Vox "“Our calm is contagious”: How to use mindfulness in a pandemic" by Sigal Samuel, Vox Featuring: Valerie Brown (@Valeriebrown951), Principal, Lead Smart Coaching Host: Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), Staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2020

1 hr 5 min

We’re living through challenging times: a pandemic, a historic economic collapse, racial injustice, and social unrest. But it would be a mistake to believe that what we’re experiencing is somehow unique in human experience. People have confronted crises for millennia, grappling with the same anguish and anxiety we’re feeling now. And they’ve left us with rich wisdom about how to navigate suffering. There’s comfort in that — and that’s the idea at the heart of a new podcast series from Vox’s Future Perfect. In eight episodes hosted by Vox’s Sean Illing and Sigal Samuel, we’ll explore different philosophical teachings and faith traditions from around the world to help us process what we’re living through — and maybe even find something meaningful, ennobling, and fortifying in this common experience. More to explore: Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 2020

1 min 37 sec

Fifty years ago this summer, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Now, NASA’s talking about going back. But is it worth it? We talk to lunar geologists about what we’ve already learned from the first Apollo missions, and what’s left to discover. Then, we take a trip, not through space, but through time—back to a scientific expedition in Greenland almost a century ago. The science done there might have seemed insignificant at the time, but has since proved an important first step towards our current understanding of global warming. Further reading: Brian's in-depth explainer on moon rocks Jon Gertner's book about epic Greenland expeditions, The Ice At The End of The World For more on ice coring, this National Geographic article is great, as is this 60 Minutes episode Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2019

30 min 40 sec

Big philanthropists can threaten democracy. But so can small ones, like you and me. One big example? Parent-teacher associations. We examine how rich PTAs can hoard opportunity and deny resources to poor kids. Dana Goldstein on the Malibu-Santa Monica PTA warsThe harm done by parents who hoard donationsRob Reich on superrich PTAsA Center for American Progress report on PTA donations in rich schoolsThe case that the importance of private donations is overstated Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2019

26 min 24 sec

When Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark’s schools, he raised a big question: Who will decide where this money goes? The answer: Not the people of Newark. We examine why the people of Newark turned against a gift that Zuckerberg and Cory Booker wanted them to celebrate.Dylan Scott explains the Newark giftPatrick Wall at Chartbeat has done some fantastic reporting on the outcomes of the giftDale Russakoff’s history of the gift, and the New Yorker excerptThe Harvard evaluation, and a critique of itAnother evaluation finding the intervention worked Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jul 2019

28 min 41 sec

Most charity is focused on the near term. So what happens when you try to only give to charities that will help humans a long time from now — not just in 100 years, but in a million years? To find out, we talk to Jaan Tallinn, a founding engineer of Skype who is trying to force the world to take threats to the future, threats like AI, seriously.Tallinn explains his concern with AI at an effective altruism conferenceKelsey Piper explains the risks of unconstrained AIAI experts on when they expect AI to outpace human intelligenceTed Chiang’s critique of concern with AI safety Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 2019

29 min 52 sec

Billions of dollars are donated every year from the fortunes of people who’ve died but are using their wills to influence our world from beyond the grave. Some of these zombie donors left instructions that are racist, classist, or just silly. So how do we free ourselves from the grip of the undead?Ray’s book: Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the American DeadThe case against listening to the wishes of the dead“The Bittersweet Legacy of the Buck Trust”The Baconsfield Park case, explainedThe New York Times investigates orphan trusts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 2019

32 min 3 sec

Diane Hendricks is the richest self-made woman in America, and she has used her fortune to remake the city of Beloit, Wisconsin. But she’s also used her riches to bankroll former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and to crush unions in the state. In this episode: How do we reconcile Beloiters’ love for her with her broader effects on the state?Bran Lichtenstein spends a fair amount of time with Diane Hendricks in his documentary As Goes JanesvilleAlexandra Stevenson’s profile of Diane HendricksHendricks’s donations in the 2018 electionsMary Bottari on the Bradley Foundation and public sector unionsWhen Hendricks joined Trump’s economic advisory council Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Jun 2019

21 min 9 sec

In the 1950s and ’60s, Western foundations like Ford and Rockefeller pushed hard to control India's population by sterilizing its people. In 1975, India's government expanded that disturbing practice into a massive atrocity. How did this happen — and how can we prevent it from happening again?Gyan Prakash’s history of the emergencyMatthew Connelly’s history of population controlEmma Tarlo has a book of narratives from the EmergencySavina Balasubramanian explains the focus on sterilizing men in IndiaWhy sterilization continues in IndiaA Disney short film featuring Donald Duck advocating population controlThanks to the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College for the audio of Joan Dunlop, taken from their Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

E

Jun 2019

31 min 32 sec

John M. Olin isn’t a household name, but his foundation helped create the Federalist Society, turned federal judges against environmental protection and unions, and bankrolled conservative polemicists like Dinesh D’Souza. How did one small foundation do so much to advance conservatism?Jane Mayer’s history of the Olin FoundationMayer’s full book Dark MoneyJames Piereson remembers his time as president of the Olin FoundationJohn Miller’s sympathetic history of the Olin FoundationSteve Teles on the rise of the conservative legal movementAmanda Hollis-Brusky’s history of the Federalist SocietyAsh, Chen, and Naidu on the impact of the Manne seminarsThe time Tim Geithner called Dinesh D’Souza a dick Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

May 2019

33 min 43 sec

To put our new age of extreme inequality in perspective, we look back at Andrew Carnegie, who gave America a huge number of libraries so they’d forgive him for his brutal steel mills. We ask: Is the same thing happening in 2019?Richard White’s history of the Gilded Age, and a short review hitting the main pointsA 1911 book examining the conditions of Carnegie’s steel millsThe staggering death rates at Carnegie’s millsHamlin Garland’s visit to the Homestead Mill Carnegie’s “The Gospel of Wealth”How Carnegie got into funding libraries Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

May 2019

25 min 3 sec

On the second season of Future Perfect: how philanthropy clashes with democracy. First episode drops Wednesday, May 22nd. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

May 2019

1 min 14 sec

What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to make a lot of money, or follow your bliss, even if it’s not lucrative? The group 80,000 Hours has a different suggestion: Think of your career as a chance to do a ton of good, and try to find the job that lets you help the most people you can. It’s a simple rule, but, as Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman have found, it’s anything but simple in practice. ––– Further reading: 80,000 Hours’s career guide Jeff Kaufman’s blog, where he breaks down his and Julia Wise’s contributions Julia Wise’s blog, Giving Gladly Larissa MacFarquhar profiles Julia Wise in the Guardian More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2018

21 min 5 sec

The black-footed ferret was thought extinct — until a Wyoming rancher rediscovered it, in 1981. Since then, conservation workers have been doggedly attempting to save the ferret, only to run into big problems like, oh, the literal bubonic plague. We’re still spending millions every year attempting, hope against hope, to save the ferrets. How much should we spend to save an endangered species — and is it ever time to give up? ––– Further reading: The Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Wellington, Colorado Earl Gustkey, in 1985, explains the then-recent rediscovery of the black-footed ferret for the LA Times Morgan Heim explains the reintroduction process in Smithsonian magazine Revive & Restore’s project to save the black-footed ferret with CRISPR More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2018

22 min 44 sec

Most fish die by slowly suffocating to death on the deck of a boat, struggling for air. That’s horrendously cruel, but it also makes for acidic, rubbery, smelly fish. There’s another way: ikejime, a Japanese method of fish slaughter where the fish is stabbed in the skull and dies instantly with a minimum of pain. That’s good for the animals — and, our guest Andrew Tsui argues, it makes for much tastier food. ––– Further reading: Cat Ferguson’s feature in Topic on Andrew Tsui and ikejime Ferris Jabr reviews the evidence that fish feel pain in Hakai Magazine Ikejime demonstrated by a chef at Go, a Japanese sushi restaurant in Beverly Hills More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2018

25 min 11 sec

The most reliable, best-documented way to lift someone in a poor country out of poverty? Let them come to the US (or another rich country). That’s the argument of Fabio Rojas, a self-described advocate of open borders. That idea is often used as a punching bag by immigration opponents, but Rojas argues it could dramatically reduce poverty without costing Americans jobs. ––– Further reading: Fabio Rojas’s “simplified argument” for open borders Rojas’s three-part series on how to achieve open borders Michael Clemens explains the debate over the Mariel boatlift from Cuba, which has become super-important in immigration economics The National Immigration Forum summarizes the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017, for which Leon Fresco is lobbying More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Nov 2018

24 min 27 sec

When volcanoes erupt, they spray particles into the atmosphere that cool the planet for a bit. As we get closer and closer to truly catastrophic global warming, more and more scientists are wondering whether a similar approach, called solar geoengineering, could be necessary. If it works, solar geoengineering could buy us some time to cut emissions and get our act together. If it doesn’t, the climate could be irreparably disrupted. No pressure. ––– Further reading: Brad Plumer explains the basics of geoengineering at Vox Umair Irfan walks through a new study on the limits of geoengineering The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, led by Harvard professor Frank Keutsch, seeks to learn more about the likely effects of solar geoengineering without actually doing it Gernot Wagner and his colleague David Keith make the cautious case for taking solar geoengineering seriously in the Wall Street Journal More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2018

22 min 58 sec

Lithium is a potent drug used to treat bipolar disorder, but it’s also the third element in the periodic table, and you can find tiny amounts in most drinking water. Scientists have discovered something remarkable: In areas where the tap water has more lithium, fewer people seem to die by suicide. That raises a big question: Should we put small amounts of lithium in the drinking water? Can we afford not to? ––– Further reading: Anna Fels’s op-ed “Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium?” in the New York Times Nassir Ghaemi and colleagues review the evidence on trace lithium and suicide, homicide, crime, and dementia A recent study casting doubt on the trace lithium/suicide prevention link Jesse Hicks explains the fluoride controversy for the Science History Institute Jesse Hicks explains trace lithium, for Vice More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2018

20 min 45 sec

Karianne Jackson was working for the North Dakota prison system in 2015 when a trip to Norway changed her life. There, she saw a prison with no bars and no uniformed guards. Instead, prisoners lived in small cottages with common areas, private bedrooms, even kitchens with real cups, real dishes, and real knives. And she started thinking: What if I could make the US prison system a bit more like that? ––– Further reading: Jessica Benko in the New York Times on the "radical humaneness" of Norway's Halden Prison Dashka Slater in Mother Jones on Karianne Jackson's "Norway experiment" in North Dakota Vox’s German Lopez explains mass incarceration in the United States More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2018

25 min 7 sec

In 2016, Dylan Matthews donated his kidney to a complete stranger. He didn’t think he was doing anything really extreme or remarkable. He was just trying to do the most good he could. Dylan was taking part in a movement called effective altruism, a community that tries to maximize the good you do. In our first episode, we’ll explore the idea of effective altruism, why making our charities more effective matters, and what giving a bodily organ looks like in practice. ––– Further reading: More on Dylan’s kidney donation Peter Singer’s case against the Make a Wish Foundation More of Vox’s effective altruism coverage ––– Discover more podcasts from Vox here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2018

22 min 55 sec

Explore provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty. Dylan looks at ways that bills in Congress, actions in your everyday life, and everything in between can help bring about a more perfect future.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Oct 2018

1 min 56 sec